Sunday 9 September 2012


The kids are playing up downstairs.

More forgettable old games to give the false impression that this blog is regularly updated with meaningful content? That's madness!

No really.

Released for the Commodore 64 in 1986, Madness is a non-scrolling platform game similar in nature to the likes of Donkey Kong or Jumpman. You wander about, light a bunch of torches spread out across the level, avoid enemies and traps, and inevitably exit the stage all in the space of a strict time limit. The game is so simple it would be condescending to spend more than a paragraph talking about how it works - setting up your Commodore 64 would be a more complex task.

Madness is a perfect example of an underrated computer classic. Though it fails to do anything revolutionary, it would have been a fantastic budget purchase back in the day and enjoys a high level of polish that was still an uncommon sight at the time. There are thirty-two levels that can be selected at any point, and its arcade style of gameplay means it's a lovely thing to pick-up-and-play... were it not for the fact it's a Commodore 64 game distributed on compact cassette.

And I suppose this is the only real issue with Madness - it's on the wrong system. Were it released five years prior in the arcades this would have been an instant classic, but as it stands, you're likely to spend more time loading the game than you are playing it due to its short length. In many respects things are outdated - it wouldn't have challenged the recently released Super Mario Bros. for platforming dominance by any means.

On the plus side, it has chip-tune legend Chris Huelsbeck to provide you with a soundtrack (at the expense of sound effects), but the only replay value it can offer is the ability to further your high scores - a fruitless exercise for a home system where competition is in short supply. Graphically it's also quite delightful - it's something which doesn't take itself too seriously and is just here to make you smile. It also has Pac-Man cameos. Yes that is the only reason I'm posting this today.

So yes, if you're one of the two people looking for quirky Commodore 64 titles this might be right up your street. God knows why you'd be doing that though.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice read as per usual; these simplistic 80s arcade games have always piqued my interest.

    Also, I'm proud of myself for getting your reference at the very beginning. :P